The border area is considered strategically important. It winds through icy passes that rise to over 15,000 feet and touches several disputed territories, such as Tibet and Kashmir. This has been a sore point for decades. In 1962, the two nations went to war in the same area and China won, taking firm control of a highland plateau, Aksai Chin, which India wants to reclaim.
After the June brawl, in which Chinese troops used spiked iron clubs to beat Indian soldiers to death, tens of thousands of reinforcements rushed in. Military analysts say troops remain dangerously close, in many places a few hundred yards away, supported by fighter jets, tanks, artillery and armored personnel carriers .
Several soldiers were captured during the fighting in June and during the small brawls that led to it in April and May.
A few shots were even fired in September, shattering India and China’s long-standing agreement not to use firearms in border clashes.
Since then, however, it appears that both sides have invested more in the effort to make their differences known. Indian and Chinese military officials have held seven rounds of talks, and Indian officials said in a recent statement that they had had “a sincere, in-depth and constructive exchange of views on disengagement” with their Chinese counterparts.
But some Indian analysts said they were still a little suspicious.
“It’s going to be a harsh winter,” said DS Hooda, a retired general.
“I know the Indian military has considerable experience in operations in Ladakh during the winter months,” he said. “The PLA also appears to be building habitat to house troops during the winter,” referring to Chinese forces, known as the People’s Liberation Army.